Human Rights in China



Congressional Research Report (CRS)

Over thirty years after the June 1989 Tiananmen Square crackdown, the Communist Party of China (CCP) remains firmly in power. The U.S. Department of State describes the People’s Republic of China (PRC) as an “authoritarian state.” PRC leaders have maintained political control through a mix of repression and responsiveness to some public preferences, delivering economic prosperity to many citizens, co-opting the middle and educated classes, and stoking nationalism to bolster CCP legitimacy. The party is particularly vigilant against unsanctioned collective activity among sensitive groups, such as religious groups and ethnic minorities, labor organizations, political dissidents, and human rights activists.

The U.S. government employs various policy tools to support human rights in China (see “Selected U.S. Policy Tools” below). Since 2019, the United States has imposed visa, economic, and trade-related sanctions and restrictions on some PRC officials and entities, particularly in response to reports of mass detentions and forced labor of Uyghurs and other ethnic minorities in Xinjiang province. These measures have been implemented pursuant to the Global Magnitsky Human Rights Accountability Act, Section 307 of the Tariff Act of 1930, Export Administration Regulations, and other authorities.

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Human Rights in China